Full qualifying times HERE

  • Rosberg 0.2s clear after Hamilton's FP3 crash
  • All-Williams second row ahead of Alonso and Ricciardo
  • Outgoing Red Bull driver Vettel in P9 alongside Raikkonen

Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix as he beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton at Suzuka.

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Rosberg was quickest in Q2 and on the first runs in Q3, and consolidated his advantage to take pole by 0.2s. It could prove to be a crucial pole position with heavy rain forecast on Sunday, which could potentially disrupt the running of the race.

Hamilton won't have been helped by a crash in FP3 on his option tyre run, leaving Mercedes with a busy two hours in the build-up to qualifying and leaving him without a reference lap ahead of the session.

Williams consolidated its position as best of the rest with Valtteri Bottas 0.6s off the pace in third place and Felipe Massa a second slower than Rosberg in fourth. Fernando Alonso will start alongside Daniel Ricciardo on row three, ahead of an all-McLaren fourth row and future Ferrari team-mates Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen in ninth and tenth respectively.

Vettel survived a scare in the second part of qualifying as he scraped through in tenth place, ironically thanks to neither Toro Rosso driver being able to improve sufficiently. The two Force Indias and two Saubers also dropped out in Q2, with Nico Hulkenberg making a mistake at the chicane and Sergio Perez aborting his final lap. Both drivers' chances weren't helped by Force India opting to limit mileage on Friday in order to save power unit components.

Q1 brought few surprises, with the two Lotus drivers joining Caterham and Marussia in the bottom six. For Pastor Maldonado a 10-place grid penalty for using a sixth power unit component will see him start from the back of the grid - a drop of five places - and therefore the other five places will carry over as a penalty to Sochi next weekend.